Tuesday, February 12, 2013

“Documentaries are thought to have the same relation to social change as penicillin to syphilis.”

Continuing from the previous post


The importance of documentaries as political instruments for change is stubbornly clung to, despite the total absence of any supporting evidence. 
Documentaries, like plays, novels, poems, are fictional forms that have no measurable social utility.  
Now that the shooting of Zoo is over and I stare at the rushes - 100 hours of film hanging on the editing room wall, a different series of choices emerges. This great glop of material which represents the externally recorded memory of my experience of making the film of necessity incomplete. The memories no preserved on film float somewhat in my mind as fragments available for recall, unavailable for inclusion but of great importance in the mining and shifting process known as editing. This editorial process which is sometimes deductive, sometimes associational, sometimes non-logical and sometimes a failure, is occasionally boring and often exciting. The crucial element for me is to try to think through my own relationship to the material by whatever combination of means is compatible. This involves a need to conduct a four-way conversation between myself, the sequence being worked on, my memory, and general values and experience 

"Is Art useful? Yes. Why? Because it is art. Is there such a thing as a pernicious form of art? Yes! The form that distorts the underlying conditions of life. Vice is alluring; then show it as alluring; but it brings with its train peculiar moral maladies and suffering; then describe them. Study all the sores, like a doctor in the course of his hospital duties, and the good-sense school, the school dedicated exclusively to morality, will find nothing to bite on. Is crime always punished, virtue always rewarded? No; and yet if your novel, if your play is well put together, no one will take it into his head to break the laws of nature. The first necessary condition for the creation of a vigorous art form is the belief in underlying unity. I defy anyone to find one single work of imagination that satisfies the conditions of beauty and is at the same time a pernicious work."
Wiseman's work has had more impact than most, but that's not the point. There's no contradiction between Wiseman and Baudelaire. Diagnosis is not cure.

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